The original Indiana Jones trilogy was an amazing collaboration between two titans in storytelling – George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. The two hammered out the basic concept with Lucas providing story ideas which Spielberg bringing them to life. It was a partnership that worked fairly well for the original trilogy, but posed some problems when it came time for them to reunite for 2008’s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Many felt that the issues in that movie could be traced back to Lucas’s insistence that the film’s MacGuffin focus on aliens, a nod to the prevalence of sci-fi B-movies of Crystal Skull‘s 1950s setting.
When it was announced last year that Spielberg, Lucasfilm and Disney were beginning development on a fifth Indiana Jones film, Lucas’s name was conspicuously absent. We noted at the time it was probably due to his selling of his company to Disney pretty much signaled his retirement and that he wouldn’t be involved in the new film. In an interview with Collider, Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and now Indiana Jones 5 screenwriter David Koepp that Lucas is not participating in the new project.
He’s not, to my knowledge. I’ve had no contact with him.
Koepp did go on to admit that perhaps aliens was not the best choice for Crystal Skull and hinted that there was much thought that went into what the film will will revolve around this next time.
I think that what [Indy] looks for and when he looks for it dictates what the movie’s gonna be. So the selection of the MacGuffin is everything. I think Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, being set in 1957 there was a conscious desire to say, ‘Much like two of the other ones were World War II movies set in the 30s and early 40s, this is ’57 so a lot of our influences are gonna be science-fiction movies.’ You got that with the original [script], Jeb Stuart took the first shot at it with Indiana Jones And The Saucer Men From Mars. That was a really conscious decision that dictated a lot about what the story would be and what the movie would be like, and I think that was followed through on really nicely. I thought Steve did a really good job with that. I don’t know that the idea was most suited to an Indiana Jones movie, but that was what we did. So we tried to be very careful with the selection of the MacGuffin and the eras to give ourselves as much latitude to make the best kind of Indiana Jones movie that we most want to see. Learning how that’s the importance of the choice of the MacGuffin is a big deal…
For me it was the MacGuffin dictates everything, and so we tried to make the best possible choice we could. Not that nobody didn’t try to make the best choice that they could in the past, but we tried to give us the one that gave us the Indiana Jones movie we most wanted to see.
Koepp also stated that he hopes that production on Indiana Jones 5 could begin sometime next year. That could be rather unrealistically optimistic. Currently, Spielberg is set to start work on the true story drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara at the beginning of next year. It is looking as if the bulk of production and post-production could take up most of 2017, which could conceivably push an Indiana Jones 5 start date back to 2018. Still, that should be plenty of time to meet the already announced release date of July 19, 2019 that Disney has set.